Video: 7-Foot Alligator Gar Tows the Boat — Then Jumps!

Small rivers in southeast Texas are home to massive alligator gar, and landing one requires skill, the right gear and a healthy dose of courage.

Video: 7-Foot Alligator Gar Tows the Boat — Then Jumps!

I’ve highlighted alligator gar expert Henry Martin on this website before, and explained how fishing with him in southeast Texas is No. 1 on my angling bucket list. (Click here to read one of those stories; you’ll also see Martin catch an 8-foot gator gar.)

Martin is dedicating his life to educating the public about alligator gar, and in the Facebook video below, you’ll see him place a tag in a 7-foot 1-inch gar (with 28.5-inch girth). The tag will be used to build a data base on growth rates and population density on alligator gar in many Texas rivers. Martin says alligator gar can live up to 100 years!

As you watch the 6-minute video, notice the hookset; it’s like the angler is suddenly tied to a behind-schedule bus. The massive gar literally tows the anglers’ johnboat. The fish stays deep for much of the fight, but it finally comes to the surface — then jumps. Crazy! 

The angler fighting the gar is Kyle Naegeli, host of the popular YouTube channel, The Fish Whisperer (1.24M subscribers). Martin is running the camera, and you’ll see him briefly at the end of the video when he places the tag in the monster gar.

Regarding the tackle shown in the video: Naegeli and Martin are using deadbait rigged on a 1/0 Gamakatsu live bait hook; this is proof you don’t need a large treble hook to land an alligator gar. The small single hook is easier to remove without harming the fish, too. Naegeli fights the gar on a Vexan Inshore 8-foot, 6-inch XXH baitcasting rod paired with a Diawa Prorex reel. Martin relies on braided line, 80- to 150-pound test, depending on conditions. For a leader, he uses 300-pound-test hollowcore braid (Jerry Brown Industries) instead of wire. 

You’ll see great care is taken to ensure the gar is released unharmed. It is never removed from the water, and no net or gaff is used. Instead, the guys slip a lasso over the gar’s head. The rope helps control the fish, but it still turns into a rodeo. Thankfully the anglers are experienced and avoid capsizing the small boat. And yes, they both exit the boat to join the gar in the water.

Kudos to Martin and Naegeli for sharing the video with the world, and doing their part to conserve this awesome game fish species.

P.S. Click “enter fullscreen” and turn up the volume for best viewing.


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